The Pharmacy was originally established in 1924 at 67 Murphy St. (now part of Flynns Mensland ). It was purchased by Mr & Mrs Lane who had run a Pharmacy in Chiltern for many years, in 1928. Mrs Lane was the qualified Pharmacist and the Pharmacy was known as Lanes for 25 years. Mr Jeff Kay purchased the Pharmacy in 1949. The staff at that time consisted of 2 chemists, a cosmetics girl, a junior girl and a book-keeper, with Wangaratta having a population of 7000.
In 1968, Mr Kay purchased the H.G.Palmer building at 41 Murphy St. and had it fitted out as a modern Pharmacy. He transferred the business to this site upon completion and simultaneously, the Hub Pharmacy also owned by Mr Kay and his brother Frank, moved from 47 Murphy St. (now Soapbox) to the 67 Murphy St. site where it remained until closure in the ‘80’s.
Late in 1969, Jeff Kay and his family moved to Geelong and Bren Milsom was appointed manager. At this point in time there were 10 employees. Gregg & Cherry Symons came to Wangaratta in 1970 and both worked for Kay’s Pharmacy until December 1970 when Cherry went to work for Mr Alan Hildebrand in the west end. Gregg & Cherry continued working until December 1971 when they went to England, Europe & America for 12 months. They worked in England and upon returning to Australia they came back to Wangaratta with Gregg returning to Kay’s and Cherry to Hildebrands.
In 1975, Gregg, Cherry & Bren finally acquired the whole of the business from Jeff Kay and it became known as Milsom & Symons Pharmacy. It remained so until 1980 when Bren moved to Canberra and the Pharmacy became simply Symons Amcal Pharmacy. This allowed Gregg & Cherry to really shine as owners; backing their own vision for a Pharmacy that would be the pride of Wangaratta and a leading Pharmacy in rural Australia.
In 1986, local lad Craig O’Meara, who had been schooled at West End Primary and Wangaratta High School before studying Pharmacy in Melbourne, came knocking at the Pharmacy door looking for a traineeship. Gregg & Cherry took Craig on as a trainee and after qualifying as a Pharmacist and working for several years, Craig was offered a partnership role in 1994. Gregg was a fabulous mentor with an extraordinary business mind and he and Cherry could see that the Pharmacy was going to outgrow itself at 41 Murphy St. So when the Fosseys building at 35 Murphy St. became available, they purchased that with the idea of setting up a Pharmacy that was really special and something that the Wangaratta community could be really proud of.
That opportunity finally arose when Fosseys folded in 2001. With a clean sheet of paper, over 400sq.m of floor space and a lifetime of ideas, the new Pharmacy was indeed something special when it opened in 2001 and still looks modern & vibrant today.
At this stage, another two partners in David and Lyn Mayo joined Symons Amcal Pharmacy. David and Lyn reside in Albury where they also operate two pharmacies. In 2002, Symons Amcal Pharmacy was proud to have been named one of Australia’s best pharmacies in the prestigious Quality Care Pharmacy of the Year awards. This award recognised the commitment to delivering professional healthcare with excellent customer service, great facilities and a friendly atmosphere. Thong & Jodie Le who were already working as staff pharmacists, joined the partnership in 2004, bringing a new injection of ideas and enthusiasm to Symons Pharmacy, as Gregg & Cherry began to wind down towards retirement.
Unfortunately Gregg passed away in August 2004 after a very short and unexpected illness. Gregg’s death left an obvious void within the business, but despite the loss of such a strong and positive influence, the pharmacy continued forward, due largely in part to the committed and loyal team of staff. In 2005, Craig, Thong and Jodie, as a result of Cherry’s desire to leave the business, bought the business from the existing partners. Taking over the reigns from two well respected and experienced pharmacists in Gregg and Cherry seemed a daunting task. Our aim was to continue to deliver an excellent level of customer service and professionalism. With the support of our committed staff, we have gone a long way towards achieving this goal.
In November 2006, after having sold his own business in Wodonga, Nigel Berenger joined the partnership. Nigel has lived in Wangaratta since 1983, having moved here from Melbourne for what he thought would be only one year. The pharmacy today is still the same vibrant and progressive business it has been over the years. It is continually revising the range of products and services on offer, in order to best serve the community of Wangaratta and surrounds. It is a constant challenge to try and be everything to everyone, but what is always important is our striving to provide as best we can, the service and professionalism that each of our customers desire. The staff and proprietors are all part of the local community and as such, value the relationships we each have with all our customers.
Adopting a new name in 2008, the owners and staff of Wangaratta Pharmacy are all committed to delivering the same exceptional level of customer service, professional healthcare advice, wide range of health services and a friendly atmosphere.